The sponsorships resumed when parade organizers opened a door to gay groups last year, allowing a contingent from parade sponsor NBCUniversal. But critics saw the gesture as tokenism.
Meanwhile, Boston’s St. Patrick’s Day parade ended a ban on gay groups that organizers had successfully defended at the Supreme Court. In the ensuing months, gay marriage became legal throughout the U.S. and Ireland.
Against that backdrop, New York St. Patrick’s Day Parade organizers said they’d add a second gay group this year to the parade ranks: the Lavender & Green Alliance, which had long protested the gay-group ban.
Some longtime parade participants have balked at the arrival of gay delegations.
“It’s contemptible,” said Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who stopped marching last year.
But de Blasio, a Democrat, joined the parade Thursday because of its new inclusiveness. So did Gelman, an American studies doctoral student, great-granddaughter of Irish immigrants and a member of Irish Queers, a group that was marching with the Lavender & Green Alliance.
She’ll be there with her partner, whose birthday is St. Patrick’s Day.
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